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A History of Uganda. Course Overview. Notes Uganda: The Basic Facts Before European Contact The Colonization Period World War I The Interwar Years and World War II Post World War II and Independence Obote , Amin, and Museveni. Notes. Used 2 texts Not a historian Hard to combine

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Course overview
Course Overview

  • Notes

  • Uganda: The Basic Facts

  • Before European Contact

  • The Colonization Period

  • World War I

  • The Interwar Years and World War II

  • Post World War II and Independence

  • Obote, Amin, and Museveni


  • Used 2 texts

  • Not a historian

  • Hard to combine

  • Not my research

  • Focus on Buganda

  • Somewhat skimpy information on recent times – and little from the 2000s on

Uganda the basic facts
Uganda: The Basic Facts

  • Kingdom map

  • General location

  • Overview of geography and climate

  • The Ugandan border, as in many post-colonial nations, is the invention of European colonizers.

  • Unusually, however, is that the border corresponds to ancient kingdoms and political regions; it just smushed them all together.

The emergence of kingship

The Emergence of Kingship

In the Inter-lacustrine Region


  • Combine kinship, exogamy, shared symbols, & rules of solidarity

  • Members dispersed throughout the country

  • Clans do not consist of a true genealogical imprint

  • Social identities that allow one to be situated in relation to others, to find friends everywhere & benefit from their hospitality & support

  • Differs in form in different countries

  • Largely similar across the inter-lacustrine region; the exception is Buganda

  • Buganda:

    • Between 40 and 50 clans – ebika

    • Subclans – masiga

    • Major lineages – mituba

    • Minor lineages - enyiriri

  • Fulfill and integrating function

  • For a long time, the fundamental basis for identity

  • Prominence of the Lungfish Clan (Mmamba clan) – holds many ritualistic & political positions – canoe fleet admiral was from the Mmamba Clan; current Kabaka is from the Mmamba Clan; also Nyika Victor

  • Clans tied to the monarchy / central power

  • Bataka- clan heads – had a protective function, especially in regards to property; as clans dispersed, this became less real

  • Clan sanctuaries

Clan names and totems
Clan Names and Totems

  • Some names:

    • Nkima – Red-tailed Monkey

    • Mmammba – Lungfish

    • Nte – Cow

    • Ffumbe – Civet Cat (Walusimbi)

    • Nseenene – Grasshopper

  • Clan totems – primary & secondary

  • Clan prohibitions

  • Clan traditional roles

  • Clan mottoes

  • Last name reflects one’s clan: Namutebi belongs only to women of the Mmammba Clan

  • (First name often denotes whether one is Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim; Old Testament and Italian names tend to be Catholic; New Testament & British names tend to be Anglican; etc.)

The cwezi myth
The Cwezi Myth

  • Cwezi myth – similar origin stories amongst peoples of the inter-lacustrine region

  • Archaeological evidence  the emergence of political poles or centers between the 11th and the 16th centuries  at one point, some sort of somewhat cohesive political identity

  • 18th century – Bunyoro declines & Buganda expands

The bugandan origin story
The Bugandan Origin Story

  • Buganda origin myth – Kintu

    • Placed at the head of around 20 sovereigns

    • That would place him around the beginning of the 13th century

  • See Chretien

Relationship between the clans and the kabaka
Relationship Between the Clans and the Kabaka

  • “…the external origin of these two founders – the sky for Kintu and Kitara for Kimera – instead affirms the superiority of kingship, at the kabaka level, over the power of the clans.”

  • “…kingship emerged through a compromise between a new authority of a strongly religious nature, and a network of influential clans.”

  • Different characters in the origin myth represent different clans

  • Every new kabaka was proclaimed “father of the clan chiefs [sebataka]”

  • Certain clans had roles in the enthronement ceremony (Lungfish (Mmamba), Pangolin, Mushroom, Cercopith Monkey [Nkima = Tim] & Colobus Monkey); other traditional roles related to the monarchy

  • When a kabaka is enthroned, he is “slowly infused” with the force of his father under the supervision of the clan ritualists

  • Less reliance on clans as time goes by

  • Each kabaka belongs to his mother’s clan (opposite for the rest of society), so as to share power, at least symbolically, amongst the different clans (remember, exogamy = you can’t marry someone from your own clan)

  • Most clans in Buganda have had a turn as the Queen Mother / Kabaka’s clanship

  • Ceremonies stooped in the 18th century under the KabakaNamugala

  • Replaced with an initial ritual honoring Kintu on the ritual hill Naggalabi & managed by the Lungfish and Pangolin Clans

  • Milton Obote, the President (read: dictator) in the 1980s abolished the monarchies

  • Came into use again in 1993 when the monarchy was restored

  • “…the royal institution was everywhere embedded in a network that controlled the supernatural, managed by clans whose history went back…” (Chretien, 132)

  • Religion based on Buganda’s version of the Bacwezi cult bolstered kingship but also could be used as grounds to objecting to bad behavior (aka, it was a political “currency”)

  • Later on, after colonization, Buganda’s Christianized elites envisioned the Kabaka as a secular power, and this idea for many years eclipsed the religious dimension of this institution (153)

1914 1939
1914-1939 Crisis

In general
In General Crisis

1953 the kabaka crisis
1953: The CrisisKabaka Crisis

Museveni s regime
Museveni’s Crisis Regime


The kabaka crisis
The “ CrisisKabaka Crisis”

Lukiko elections in buganda
Lukiko Crisis Elections in Buganda

Independent east africa

Independent East Africa Crisis

1960s to 1990s

Trends Crisis

In summary
In Summary Crisis

Political turmoil the kabaka s downfall
Political Turmoil & the CrisisKabaka’s Downfall

Obote s fall and the amin dictatorship
Obote’s Crisis Fall and the Amin Dictatorship